Disney World Makes Multiple Changes to Park Pass Reservations
Walt Disney World has revealed changes to the Park Pass reservation system intended to enhance and streamline the booking process for all ticket tickets, with new rules now having taken effect. This post runs through details of the updates and shares commentary about their practical impact.
Walt Disney World has updated the user interface for making Disney Park Pass reservations across all ticket types. This means that everyone–theme park ticket holders, on-site resort guests, and Annual Passholders–will all use the same system and booking flow going forward. (As of August 24, Disney is still implementing and tweaking these changes.)
Currently, multi-day ticket holders and Walt Disney World APs each use a different system. This means that these Park Pass reservations have to be booked separately, and pull from different “buckets” of reservations. Going forward, guests may book reservations for all ticket and AP types in a single transaction.
In that single transaction, the upper limit of tickets that can have Disney Park Passes reserved in a single transaction has increased to 30, up significantly from the current number of 12. This probably won’t impact many of you, but it’ll definitely be useful for family reunions and other group bookings, like youth sports teams.
Note that if you’ve already made reservations, you won’t have your bookings cancelled. Existing Disney Park Passes have migrated to the new reservation system without any actions by the guest. (With that said, you might want to double-check your Park Passes to make sure this occurred.)
That’s just the start of the changes. Another big one comes to Disney Park Pass modifications, which were not previously a thing. In the past, you had to cancel and rebook, hoping that the availability you saw on the Park Pass calendar was actually there in the system.
Going forward, guests now have the modify option for their Disney Park Pass reservations. This new feature is available for some or all members of your party.
In practical terms, let’s say that Sarah and I made reservations for Magic Kingdom, which is now fully booked. She still wants to go to there, but I feel compelled to visit Hollywood Studios to see if Olaf is wearing a seasonal scarf and potentially cover that hard-hitting news. Now we’ll be able to modify the Disney Park Pass to reroute me to DHS without her losing the Magic Kingdom reservation.
(Important note: Olaf is not wearing a seasonal scarf. Stupid Halloween-hating snowman.)
As of August 24, this modify feature is still a work in progress with Walt Disney World continuing to tweak the feature to ensure proper functionality for everyone.
Right now, the main issue impacts Annual Passholders with resort reservations. Per the screenshot above, there are two different ways for this group to book Park Passes. The first one works correctly and offers the modify button. However, it counts against your AP allocation.
The second button also works, but does not offer the modify button (yet). This means that APs who book via this route will still have to cancel and rebook reservations. This route does not count against your AP allocation of reservations, so this is the preferred way to book.
Walt Disney World has already fixed this same issue for regular resort guests, so here’s hoping the same happens for Annual Passholders!
Additionally, the Disney Park Passes are tied to a specific ticket and not guest profiles in My Disney Experience.
This has a few implications. First, guests can have multiple admission types for whatever reason and choose the ticket to which they want to assign the park reservation. This is probably very niche, but this should theoretically eliminate some of the ‘ticket priority problems’ some people have experienced. (If you don’t know what this means, it almost certainly doesn’t impact you.)
Second, guests may change the email connected to the Disney Park Pass reservation. This means that guests can choose a different email than that of their My Disney Experience account.
I’m not entirely sure what upside this offers, but it sounds similar to how things work at Disneyland. The downside, at least from my perspective, is that Disneyland sends out an email for every single reservation. (I guess one upside might be that some people want this, and to have the reservation appear in their primary email–which may not be affiliated with MDX?)
Finally, disconnecting reservations from guest profiles and to tickets means that upgrading from standalone tickets to vacation packages results in “immediate cancellation” of all Disney Park Pass reservations made on the previously-booked ticket. New Park Pass reservations will be required, as the confirmation number changes with the upgrade process.
It’ll be interesting to see how or whether this actually happens. Personally, I hope it’s not actually automatic. If a modified confirmation number triggers an instant cancellation, I could see this occurring unintentionally. I don’t have any foundation for this fear–it’s not really a “fear,” that’s a slight exaggeration. Nevertheless, with how glitchy Disney’s systems can be, I’d prefer erring on the side of the system having excess ‘zombie’ reservations rather than purging active ones. Maybe there’s a good basis for this change, though.
With the changes and “enhancements” (some real, some deserving of the air quotes) out of the way, let’s turn to what is remaining the same.
First, the reservations are disconnected from My Disney Experience in more ways than one. You still will need to make Disney Park Passes via DisneyWorld.com. The button continues to exist in the app, but it’ll keep kicking you to the website to make bookings.
Second and most importantly, there will still be distinct buckets of reservations for Annual Passholders and everyone else.
At present, there are three buckets displayed on the Disney Park Pass calendar: Theme Park Tickets, Select Resort Guests, and Annual Passholders. Technically, the first two have already been combined internally and AP availability is further broken down by tier.
All of this will remain the same, meaning that reservation availability could be better or worse for regular ticket holders than APs. It’s the process that is being streamlined, not availability.
There’s been some speculation that this would/will change due to the Magic Key lawsuit. That could be true eventually, but it’s not happening now. (Personally, I highly doubt Disney will voluntarily do this–it undercuts what they’ve wanted to accomplish with AP reservations since even prior to the closure. If Disney has its way, reservations for Annual Passholders are here to stay.)
To my knowledge, that’s everything. Some specifics still aren’t entirely clear from the announcement and contradictory clarifying info (in particular, what happens when upgrading tickets to vacation packages), but we should know for certain how all of this will work once the dust settles on the changes.
Some of these changes are iterative improvements that enhance the Disney Park Pass system for some people. Others are relatively insignificant, or pose their own potential problems. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out in practice. We’ll be watching and will let you know if/when issues arise!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of these changes and enhancements to the Disney Park Pass reservation policies and protocol at Walt Disney World? Happy or unhappy about any of these updates in particular? Think the biggest “upgrade” of all would be doing away with Park Pass entirely, or are you a fan of the certainty the system presents? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
We have a trip coming up at the end of the week. I now have to modify each person’s park reservation, no way to modify the park reservation for the entire planning party. The planning party shows up on MDE on iPhone.
We’re not too worried about that but very, very worried the same will be true when we try to get in a virtual queue. Has anyone seen the same for their park reservations but still been able to get all party members in a virtual queue at the same time? We really want to have 4 phones trying to get into the queues at the same time. It makes for a fun game/race in the mornings 🙂
We are out of state APs and are planning a visit September 19-24. Our park reservations had been made a few months ago and all of them disappeared. Fortunately all 4 parks are still available for each day of the visit so I set up new reservations. Thanks for the suggestion to check them
With the ability to modify your park reservations….will you lose your AVR? With the new rule requiring a park reservation for the same day and same park, what happens if I change my park reservation after I make ADR? IF I’ve purchased a Park Hopper pass, park reservation for EPCOT, ADR for Rose & Crown. If I modify my park reservation to HW will I lose my Rose & Crown dinner reservation?
That’s a good question, I’d like to know too. Btw it might not be a bad thing if you do lose it. We were just at Rose and Crown last May, the food was awful and the service was not good. So many better places to eat and you can see the fireworks in the seating area right to the left of the Rose and Crown and still enjoy one of their awesome brews if you get there early enough.
I have gone to Disney probably over 50 times including taking 12 people to the Millennium but I have never seen such a mess as what’s going on now. Maybe I’m just getting old (I am) but this just seems impossible to navigate. I think they should do away with the park reservation system entirely. I spent all last night struggling with park reservations so here’s hoping they’re what I want.
Just a heads up to check your park reservations.
I was looking at my MDE this morning when I noticed they had 5 duplicate reservations for each of us PER DAY at each park.
After waiting the usual 45 minutes on hold for website support I was told that they’re having some issues with the new park pass reservation system, but the very nice CM fixed it quickly.
I just rechecked MDE again to ensure all of our hotel, park, restaurant and tour reservations were in tact and they were.
I have the same- 2 for my mom and 2 for my sister for each park. I just got off the phone with a CM and he said it was just a visual glitch and hopefully by the time we get closer to our NOV reservation, the odd one will fall off. Just to be on the safe side, however, I went in and wrote down of the reservation numbers for each of us so I have record that we had them. I know we got res emails confirmations, but all of my emails are now missing out of my folders (so that’s another issue I’m dealing with). Hopefully they’ll figure this out. I wish they’d just work on fixing things that are actually broken instead of monkeying with this.
We have a 10 day trip scheduled for the end of September/beginning of October. There are three (3) of us. At 4:42 AM this morning, my phone seemed to be experiencing some kind of crazy seizure, to the point where it woke both my husband and I up almost instantly. Upon further inspection, it was Disney cancelling our park reservations due to a change (no changes were made) to our reservation. Disney couldn’t send just one email. No, they sent one per person per park reservation, resulting in thirty emails at 4am.
Now to figure out what prompted the cancelation,,,,,,,
I wish you would post that it is near impossible to find a balance owed amount on the app. Incredibly frustrating.
Jason,T forget the app for this. We did get an email however. Told my wife that last time she had to call to pay off balance and online support wasn’t there. She looked at me like I had two heads. After 20 min hold we got it done. But wow is Disney backwards when it comes to tech. Almost everyone pays bills online this days etc.
I’m not going to lie- I’m so confused now. LOL. I’m an AP. I have a trip planned after Thanksgiving with my mom and sister. Mom and sis are regular ticket holders. I made their park res months ago. I had to renew my AP this past weekend (expires in Oct, but I was worried about not being able to get a res for Nov if I waited til Oct to renew) Anyway, I made my res for the Nov trip the day after renewing. I check it today worried that this new change my mess something up, and I see now that my sister is listed twice for our Epcot day and my mom is listed 2x also. They’re also both listed 2x for the MK day. Is this because there are 2 day tickets? I mean, if there’s a 2 day ticket and one day is Epcot res and one day is MK res, why are they listed twice? SMH. Do I need to call? Idk what to do from here.
It’s a glitch. Give web support a call they’ll fix it quickly. 407 939 4357
I take screen shots of everything. All my hotel, dining and park reservations. Disney’s website can be unreliable some times and it’s just a way to have my own record of everything.
It’s about time they figured out to allow people to modify instead of canceling and rebooking! They already knew how to do it since we’ve been able to do that with dining reservations for years.
That being said, however, I do NOT like this new system at all. First is the minor annoyance of each party being listed separately on the MyPlans page, which makes the page very convoluted and cluttered. But I can live with that (though not happily). The part that I hate now is that you can only modify one person at a time. I’d rather just delete the entire party and rebook, the old way. At least then I was given the option to “select all” in our party. Now, with doing one person at a time, you risk one (or more) in the party getting a reservation and one (or more) not getting one, which is extremely stressful when you have under-aged children in your party.
For the love all that’s Disney – if it ain’t broke DON’T fix it!!!!!
You make a great point with this.
I really hope they are still tweaking the system, as there are some ideas here in theory but, as always, the actual execution is clunky and leaves a lot to be desired.
I was just noticing this as well! I made reservations a couple weeks ago for November, and now we are thinking about switching our days around a little – except the “modify reservations” system shows that some of the days now have no availability even though on the regular reservations calendar everything is green and available!? Helllp
Man I really hope they open up annual passes again soon. I have 4 trips booked from Nov to April and I just want an annual pass to cover all of them (and then I’ll decipher what the rest of this post means!)
So with Genie+ could you now have a party of up to 30? Or is 12 still the max?
I found on 8/23 that my reservations made in July, for October, were missing for my husband and myself. Reservations for my young children, made at the same time, were still there. Totally nervewracking because MK was filled for our dates. After a 45 minute call I was able to get the lost reservations restated with the help of an “escalation team.” My husband and I were reserved with legacy magic my way ticket, so wondering if the system update broke something for reservations using older tickets, but I will never know. I now printed all the reservation confirmation numbers so I have a hard copy as backup.
This is very useful. to know. Thanks! This inspired me to go look at my reservations for December. I noticed that all of the reservations have been changed from multiple person reservations to individual reservations, but at least they’re still there!
Yikes! I got paranoid and went to check my reservations and only the child reservation now exists! This is extremely problematic. Now I have to call Disney. I bet this is a widespread issue and I hope a system wide fix will be implemented ASAP.
You have also inspired me to go check my park reservations and for one of our dates in October we have reservations for two parks. When I went to cancel the extra park reservation it sent me to a screen that looked like a cancel-your-park hopper option so I am leaving one of my days double booked for now in the hopes that they iron out the kinks.
Thank you for your post
I already made my reservations, but has started doubting whether the reserved date is too close to potential Jetlag for our 3 year old. Is it correctly understood that this new update makes it easier to change the park reservation date? And how flexible is it? Would I be able to change it on the booked date (early morning).
Disney has used Covid as a means to remove so many things. Magic Express is gone. Tables in Wonderland is gone. Annual Passes are gone. Fast Passes are gone. With the removal of many inducements, prices still rose. The new regime is focused on the short term profitability. They have publicly stated that since profitability has increased the customers like the new systems. We are now customers, not guests. I wonder if they can reconnect to what made their brand special.
I hate it all. I miss when we could go buy a ticket then go into a park. Hate using my phone to make park reservations, ride reservations etc.
My daughter was there in July and said she needed to be on her phone all the time and early in the morning to make ride reservations. Where is the fun in that? I’ll most likely go to Universal until Disney changes back to Walt Disney’s dream.